Places To Go


Sand Prairie Conservation Area

Former sandbars provide unique habitat

Part prairie, part sandbar, Sand Prairie Conservation Area (CA) offers visitors a look at one of Missouri’s rarest natural communities.

Located on 200 acres in southeast Missouri’s Scott County, Sand Prairie CA’s unique habitat is the result of river channels that formerly flowed through the area, according to MDC’s Mississippi Lowland East District Supervisor Tim Kavan.

“It’s basically the alluvial deposits of the Ohio River, Mississippi River channels,” Kavan said. “The area is about 300–350 feet above sea level, and it’s basically an old remnant sandbar from those river channels that ran through this area many years ago.”

The area draws a wide variety of bird species, but come spring, the area’s amphibians make themselves known, he said.

“When we get those warm spring rains and get a few impoundments of water that might stick around for 48 to 72 hours, the prairie opens up to a chorus of frogs — eastern spadefoot and Illinois chorus frogs,” he said. “There’s not a lot of swamp or shallow impoundments on the area, but they don’t need much either. You can witness the ambiance from anywhere on the area if the timing is right.”

Sand Prairie Conservation Area consists of 200 acres in Scott County. From Interstate 55, take the Benton exit (80) to Highway 77 southeast (left) for approximately 2 miles, then County Road 333 north (left) approximately 2 miles to the area.

37.0955, -89.5042 


What to Do When You Visit

  • Birdwatching: Included in the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Sand Prairie CA is available at
  • Hiking: No designated trails, but area is open to hiking.
  • Hunting: Quail and rabbit

Discover MO Outdoors

Users can quickly and easily find outdoor activities close to home, work, or even while traveling with our free mobile app, MO Outdoors. Available in Android or iPhone platforms at

What to Look For When You Visit

  • Short-eared owl (winter only)
  • Lark sparrow
  • Eastern spadefoot
  • Loggerhead shrike

Also In This Issue

And More...

This Issue's Staff